Okay, here you go...
Today I was thinking about something as I watched one of my favorite movies, CONTACT. I couldn't help but wonder what the author of that story had in mind. Maybe it's obvious, but whether we like it or not when we write a story, our subconsious minds make an incredible impact on what we put into them. And I was thinking of why I write. Why anyone writes. I have come up with a list of things, but today I thought of something overdue. And that is how stories we write can help the reader care about someone very different from them.
In the movie, CONTACT, we have a very specific vision of who the main character, Ellie, is. She is a scientist, and she isn't religious, but someone who is like the rest of us and wants answers. She is someone, admitedly, who is much the opposite of myself in many ways. But as the story progresses, the viewer (including myself) is inevitably invested in her, cares about her and wants her to succeed. We feel her pain as her goal is thwarted and ultimately she is taken advantage of. But still she keeps trying. Someone like her, who is sympathetic, the more we get to know, the more we care about and the more our differences don't seem to matter.
Now, in real life, I may not be the type of person that would be drawn to Ellie. Not on purpose, mind you, but I may not think I would have anything in common with that type of person. But watching this movie, I find myself seeing that we aren't so different after all. We are both human. We both have goals that in the end aren't very different as another character, Palmer Joss, points out. 'Our purpose is the same; that of finding the truth.
I love that books, and even movies, can let us see into other people's lives. Maybe that is why we are so attracted to them. We're curious. And it is an easy way to learn about other types of people without perhaps judging too quickly. I've said it before, but books are powerful. Words are powerful. If we use them correctly, they can have such a wonderful impact.
So, I am someone who looks at the glass as half-full. What are you like?